Belen Mozo makes ace at New Zealand Women’s Open, but doesn’t win car due to loophole

With the Presidents Cup taking place at Liberty National this week, and Sam Saunders joining the 59 club at the Web.com Tour Finals, it was difficult to keep up with everything in the golf world.

But the ladies are playing a golf tournament as well, all the way in Auckland, New Zealand. The field at the Mckayson New Zealand Women’s Open is quite strong, featuring stars like Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson and Danielle Kang. But they are all chasing Spain’s Belen Mozo, who fired rounds of 66 and 64 to take a five shot lead at 14-under 130 through 36 holes.

Mozo, 29, was already working on a stellar second round when she reached the par-3 13th Windross Farm Golf Course, but it got a little more special after her tee shot took flight:

If you notice, there is a sleek little Infiniti Q60 in the background that Mozo eventually embraces after her ball finds the cup. There’s just one tiny problem: the rules say the car can only be won on the weekend. Dagger!

While it will surely sting, she can quickly forget about it with two more solid rounds on the weekend as she searches for her first LPGA Tour victory.

courtesy of Christopher Powers (golfdigest.com)

Lydia Ko regains form, ties Lexi Thompson for Indy lead

Lydia Ko delivered a clear message to her LPGA Tour rivals Friday.

She’s having fun again – and she’s ready to start winning again.

The 20-year-old New Zealander shot an 8-under 64 and grabbed a share of the lead with Lexi Thompson at 15-under 129 with a round left in the Indy Women in Tech Championship. If Ko puts together one more solid round Saturday, she could finally pick up her first win since July 2016.

“I know I’ve still got a whole, full 18 holes tomorrow to go, but I think really the key was that I’ve just kind of enjoyed being in this position and being able to hit some good shots and give myself some good looks at birdie,” Ko said. “When you start doing that, it builds your confidence and you’re not dwelling on, ‘Hey, am I going to hit a good shot or a bad shot.’ I think that’s kind of the mindset that I’ve kind of gotten into the last few months.”

After a summer full of frustration, the 14-time tour winner has shifted gears at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s golf course.

Ko started the season with four top-10 finishes in seven events, but hasn’t finished higher than 10th since. She even missed the cuts in two of her last three tournaments.

Somehow, amid the intermittent sounds of chirping birds, jet engines, sirens and car horns while playing in the shadows of the racetrack’s grandstands, Ko found some serenity.

While playing partners Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis, the winner last week in Portland, Oregon, struggled, Ko took advantage of the wide fairways and receptive greens and started playing like the world’s No. 1 player- a title she held for more than 80 consecutive weeks.

Now No. 8 in the world, Ko started on the back nine and opened with consecutive birdies to tie Thompson at 9 under. Ko finally broke the tie with a birdie at No. 15, then took charge with five straight birdies on the front side to reach 16 under. The only glitch came on No. 8 when Ko missed the green to the left and slid her par putt to the right for a bogey.

“It was a little disappointing to finish off with a bogey on my 17th hole, but I felt like I played the toughest hole out there,” she said while Thompson prepared to tee off nearby. “Sometimes you have those mistakes but you need to move on from that. To me, it’s just nice to play some solid golf and put myself in a good position.”

Ko also understood her score might not hold up for the outright lead.

Thompson made sure of it, following her opening 63 with a 66.

The 22-year-old Florida player closed out the front nine with three birdies on the final four holes then adding birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 to tie Ko. But Thompson’s birdie putt at No. 16 missed just to the left of the hole and she wound up scrambling for par on the final two holes when her approaches went through the greens.

“Actually, I didn’t hit one bad golf shot today,” Thompson said. “I feel great about it, I’ll never complain about a 6-under round.”

The final threesome Saturday might not need to do much scoreboard watching.

Candie Kung made nine birdies and shot a 64 to reach 14 under.

“Luckily, I was able to hit some really close ones and have some 3-footers and 5-footers for birdies and I pretty much made all of them except the last one,” Kung said.

Ashleigh Buhai was fourth at 11 under after a 66, and Cristie Kerr (67) and Amy Olson (68) were 10 under.

Kerr has more than golf on her mind.

“We live in Scottsdale, Arizona, right now, but my whole family is there (in Florida) and tons of friends and I’m just really, really worried for everybody,” Kerr said as her home state braces for Hurricane Irma.

Sandra Gal was tied with Kung at 14 under, then bogeyed the par-3 15th and hit two drives into the water on the par-4 16th en route to a 10. She finished with a 73 to drop eight strokes behind the leaders.

Amateur Erica Shepherd was 5 under after a 68.

Lewis made the cut on the number at 2 under with rounds of 72 and 70.

Nordqvist failed to advance, shooting 74-71 to finish at 1 over.

Courtesy AP NEWS

Lexi Thompson, through tears, addresses ANA snafu: ‘It was kind of a nightmare’

Lexi Thompson pauses after becoming emotional while speaking to reporters about her loss at the ANA Inspiration.

Lexi Thompson, speaking for the first time since losing the ANA Inspiration in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu earlier this month, likened her four-shot penalty experience to a nightmare.

“I played amazing that week,” Thompson said, through tears. “I don’t think I’ve ever played any better. Just for that to happen…it was kind of a nightmare.”

Thompson is in the field for this week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, her first tournament since the ANA Inspiration. Thompson was assessed a pair of two-stroke penalties for hitting her ball from the wrong spot on the 17th hole and then signing an incorrect scorecard after the third round of the LPGA’s first major. Her violations, however, didn’t surface until the following day, when a TV viewer called the LPGA to report the potential penalties. She was told of the four-stroke penalty walking off the 12th green Sunday, and went from leading the tournament to trailing by two before her eventual playoff loss.

Following much discussion over social media, the USGA and R&A announced Tuesday an immediate change to the rules of golf in an attempt to protect players from being penalized for infractions that “could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye.” Decision 34-3/10 does not eliminate viewer call-ins.

Thompson said in her press conference that while she could see where the rules officials were coming from, she stands by the fact that she has always played golf by the rules.

“The hardest part, just going through it,” Thompson said, breaking down, “I’ve worked my whole life to have my name on major championship trophies, especially that one. It’s a very special week for me with all the history behind it.”

Thompson said she never intended to mark her ball on the 17th hole during the third round, instead planning to tap in the short putt. But she said she talked herself into marking because she had missed many tap-ins previously. There was nothing in her line, and she referred the condition of the greens as “perfect.”

“I have no reason behind it,” Thompson said of her decision. “I did not mean it at all.

“I mark my ball with a dot and that’s where I focus my eyes on where I want to make contact,” Thompson said. “So when I went to mark it, I just rotated my ball to line up my dot to where my putter would make contact.”

The 22-year-old top-ranked American said she was overwhelmed by the support she received following the loss. She didn’t let it keep her from the game, playing a round with her brothers just two days after the ordeal.

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte said Wednesday that the USGA, per a source, has not ruled out changing the call-in rule. Many pros, reacting to the USGA and R&A change, thought the amendment could have gone one step further to eliminate viewer call-ins. Thompson is in that camp.

“Do I think it’s right?” Thompson said. “Not really, but it’s not my say.”

courtesy of Marika Washchyshyn (golf.com)

Dottie Pepper Urges Lydia Ko To Take Ownership Of Her Life

PACIFIC PALISADES, CA – FEBRUARY 21: Dottie Pepper, commentator for CBS Sports, walks the 7th fairway during the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club on February 21, 2016 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Former LPGA star and current CBS broadcaster Dottie Pepper has some advice for young World No. 1 Lydia Ko: you, and only you, are responsible for everything that’s going on in your life.

Writing in her year-end round-up for ESPN, Pepper criticized the 19-year-old’s helicopter-parents and former coach, David Leadbetter. But ultimately, she had some stern words for the LPGA phenom.

“Take ownership of everything in your life and do your preparation in the quiet of your home, not in the public eye,” Pepper wrote.

Ko has cleaned house this off season, starting with her caddie Jason Hamilton, followed closely in succession by coaches Sean Hogan and David Leadbetter. She’s also looking at an equipment switch — it would appear Ko is preparing for a completely new start in 2017.

“I’m not going to judge the personalities involved, but I will always be critical of over-involved parents/spouses as well as students and teachers who don’t arrive at tournaments with their preparation complete,” Pepper writes. “Tournament time is when you put your work on auto pilot and play golf, not try to reinvent the wheel with a teacher stuck to you like cellophane.”

Will Ko employ a new entourage or heed Pepper’s advice? The 2017 LPGA season kicks off at the end of January in the Bahamas, likely our first indication of what the young New Zealander plans to do.

Courtesy of Golfwire.

 

David Leadbetter On Split With Lydia Ko: ‘It Was A Bit Of A Shock’

In a surprising move on Tuesday, World No. 1 Lydia Ko fired her coach of three years, David Leadbetter. Leadbetter says the decision may have been influenced by Ko’s parents and their unrealistic expectations for the teenage prodigy.

In interviews on PGA Tour Radio and with Golf Digest, Leadbetter mentioned the interference of Ko’s parents in her career. “It was a bit of a shock. But there are other forces involved. The parents are involved,” he said of the split on Sirius XM on Friday. Leadbetter praised Ko as a role model and a “delight” to work with, but attributed her faltering performance in the last part of her season to parental pressure and too many commitments: “With all these outside pressures and people in her team, I’ll call it that, expecting that she should win every week…She’s not a machine.”

Leadbetter’s comments about Ko’s parents to Golf Digest were even more damning. “They tell her when to go to bed, what to eat, what to wear, when to practice and what to practice,” he said. “And they expect her to win every tournament. They are good people, who love their daughter and want the very best for her…But they are naive about golf. And at some point, they’ve got to let the bird fly from the nest. I would often think, ‘It’s not easy coaching three people.’” Leadbetter said that Ko’s father had taken to correcting and criticizing Ko’s swing, overwhelming his daughter with extraneous and, Leadbetter says, unhelpful information.

The coach dates Ko’s wobbling this fall to the Olympics, where she had her heart set on taking home a gold medal (a goal that was strongly encouraged by her father, according to Leadbetter). She walked away with a silver, and was “mentally and physically shattered” after the struggle to win was over. “There was so much pressure on her,” he said on the Radio.

For all she has accomplished in her short career, Ko is only 19-years-old. Leadbetter hopes his former student will find a way to navigate her own path. He said he was hopeful she would heed his final advice to her: “Take control of your life. Take control of your golf game. Make more of your own decisions.”

Courtesy of golfwire

 

 

Pro Golfers React to Donald Trump Winning Presidential Race

In a stunning upset, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on Election Day and will take office as the 45th president on Jan. 20, 2017.

The real-estate-mogul-turned-Republican-president-elect owns some of the top golf courses in the world. His Trump National Bedminster will the host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2022 PGA Championship.

Many Tour pros are fans of Trump — others, not so much — and several of them took to social media to voice their opinion on their new president. Check out the mixed reaction below.

John Daly ? @PGA_JohnDaly

Congrats my grt friend & President of the US! @realDonaldTrump bc I know u will! Thk u 4 putting Americans 1st ??

Jack Nicklaus ? @jacknicklaus

Congratulations to the 45th President of the United States, @realdonaldtrump! All of us in the Nicklaus family are… https://twitpl.us/fNwK

David Feherty ? @Fehertwit

Congratulations to the Donald!

Dani Holmqvist @DHolmqvist

So much hate and derogatory comments this am. Instead, no matter what your views may be. Appreciate that you have the luxury of democracy.

see more http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/donald-trump-pro-golfers-react-trump-winning-presidential-race

Lydia Ko Takes 4-Shot Lead at LPGA Taiwan Championship

GettyImage1Lydia Ko took a four-stroke lead Saturday in the LPGA Taiwan Championship, putting the 18-year-old New Zealander in position to regain the top spot in the world ranking.

Ko had four birdies in a five-hole stretch and closed with another birdie for a 5-under 67 in windy conditions at rain-soaked Miramar.

She would jump from second to first in the world with a victory or second-place finish Sunday and also could take the top spot under other scenarios depending on where top-ranked Inbee Park finishes in the Korea LPGA’s KB Financial Star Championship. Park, the winner last year at Miramar, was tied for fourth Saturday in the South Korean event.

Ko had a 13-under 203 total. South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji, a stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, was second after a 72.

courtesy of AP News

Tiger Woods, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie in This Week’s Heroes & Zeros

When Horace Rawlins won the inaugural U.S. Open, in 1895, we’re pretty sure no one pounded him on the back and said, “Congrats on your first major championship victory, old boy.” History shows it takes a long time for tournaments to be accorded that august status. The first little invitational in Augusta was held in 1934, but it wasn’t until the early ’60s, when Arnold Palmer and color TV arrived together, that the Masters became a big deal. So who GettyImage1

2. Silverado. A sleepy little season-opener is suddenly big-time with Tiger and Rory committing at the point of a bayonet. I’m already stocking up on pens, notebooks and bottle openers.

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3. Tiger. Pros are flocking to his new restaurant, and his mere presence at Sunday Night Football relegated Jordan Spieth to an afterthought. That’s star power, baby.

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4. Annie Park. With her third Symetra Tour win in nine starts this talented 20-year-old has punched her ticket to the LPGA. Golf’s youth movement goes on and on and on.

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5. Thomas Pieters. He earned his second victory in the span of three weeks on the Euro tour. Keep your eye on this 23-year-old Belgian for next year’s Ryder Cup. As if the European team isn’t stacked enough.

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Zeros

1. Lexi. Maybe no one was going to hold off Ko this time around, but Thompson’s chip-yipped double bogey on the 14th hole certainly made it easy on her callow challenger.

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2. The U.S. Walker Cup team. I know these guys look up to the pros, but do they have to play like it’s the Ryder Cup, too?

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3. The World Ranking. It might’ve just usurped the BCS rankings as sport’s most annoying algorithm.

PGA Championship - Round One

4. Michelle Wie. I’m a big fan, but you simply can’t sport aviator shades, high-top pink shoes and rainbow-colored hair and then go out and shoot 75.

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5. Presidents Cup outfits. Lucky golf fans, we now get to choose the clothes for day one of the competition, thanks to a just-unveiled PGA Tour promotion. I’m opting for a paper bag in a distressed-khaki color so I can wear it over my head in shame as I vote.

The Presidents Cup - Singles Matches

courtesy of Alan Shipnuck (golf.com)

Kris Tamulis Wins Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic for 1st LPGA Victory

lpgaKris Tamulis won the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour title.

Tamulis played 29 holes Sunday in the twice-delayed tournament, the 186th of her LPGA Tour career. She finished a third-round 67 and closed with a 65 to beat Yani Tseng and Austin Ernst by a stroke.

The 34-year-old former Florida State player finished at 17-under 271 on The Senator Course.

Tseng had rounds of 71 and 67, and Ernst shot 68-69 with the weather clearing up after delays totaling nearly 7 hours the previous two days. Both parred the final hole with a chance to force a playoff.

Tamulis birdied four of the first six holes in the final round before finally making her only bogey of the last three rounds. She hadn’t finished better than fourth on the tour.

courtesy of AP NEWS (golf.com)

Michelle Wie Withdraws From British Open With Ankle Injury

wie-michelle-140628Michelle Wie withdrew from the Women’s British Open after 13 holes of her second round on Friday, soon after aggravating her left ankle injury by slipping as she walked off a tee box.

“Could be a week or two months,” Wie told reporters after receiving medical attention in the physio room at Turnberry.

Wie was 10 over par for the round, which was played in wet and windy conditions, and 14 over for the tournament.

Wie, one of the stars of women’s golf, developed a bone spur in her left foot after the U.S. Women’s Open last month, and has been wearing a protective boot in Scotland when she was not on the course.

Wie’s left ankle was causing her some discomfort when she when she teed off Friday, and she felt a sharp pain when she stepped in a hole early in the round. She then slipped to the ground on the 13th tee and couldn’t put weight on her left foot.

Wie completed the hole, making a third straight bogey, before withdrawing.

“As frustrating as it is, it just seems like I can’t force it anymore,” Wie said.

Wie, last year’s Women’s U.S. Open champion, hadn’t practiced for two weeks before arriving in western Scotland.

courtesy of AP News (golf.com)

Trump lands, Kim leads at Women’s British Open

Suzann Pettersen of Norway tees off from the 17th on the 1st first day of the Women's British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, Thursday, July 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Suzann Pettersen of Norway tees off from the 17th on the 1st first day of the Women’s British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, Thursday, July 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Donald Trump’s show-stealing arrival at the Women’s British Open on Thursday upstaged another strong start to a major by South Korea’s Hyo-Joo Kim.

Kim was midway through compiling a 7-under 65 in the first round when Trump, the American presidential candidate, landed in a private helicopter to begin a two-day visit at the tournament at his Turnberry resort in western Scotland.

The on-course action was initially a sideshow for Trump, who seized the attention by inviting the media to his hotel near the course to continue his presidential campaign. The Republican celebrity billionaire eventually watched some golf, although the leaderboard was virtually locked in by then.

The fourth-ranked Kim, who shot a first-round 61 in winning the Evian Championship on her major championship debut last year, was leading by one stroke from Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Cristie Kerr of the United States.

Ko, whose 66 was her lowest score in a major, is looking to become the youngest winner of a major. She’ll be 18 years, three months, nine days on Sunday, seven months younger than Morgan Pressel when the American won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2007.

Top-ranked Inbee Park began her quest to complete a sweep of the majors by shooting 69 in what she described as “perfect conditions for golf,” with three of her five birdies coming in her last five holes.

Defending champion Mo Martin shot 70, and Michelle Wie, wearing a brace on her left ankle because of a bone spur, had a 76.

Australia’s Karrie Webb, the last champion at Turnberry in 2002, shot 80 and was joint 141st in the 144-woman field.

Trump’s grand arrival at 10:30 a.m. certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the early starters on the Ailsa Course. Ko, who went out in the second group after waking up at 3:30 a.m., was on the 16th hole when the real-estate mogul’s helicopter twice circled the Ayrshire links.

“I was like, `Man, that’s a really nice helicopter,'” Ko said. “I would love one.”

The world No. 2 already was 6 under par by then, with a run of four straight birdies from No. 2 giving her momentum. On No. 5, she gripped a 5-wood from 179 yards to inside 2 feet.

Ko is trying not to think about the history she could create this weekend.

“My goal is to have one major in my career,” Ko said, “but it doesn’t need to be now.”

Ko held the clubhouse lead for barely an hour before being overtaken by Kim, who rolled in five birdies and an eagle putt from 10 inches at the par-5 14th in her first round in a British Open.

This is only her fifth major championship – and she already has a victory as well as ninth and 11th-place finishes.

“I kept playing good today,” said Kim, who donned earmuffs to combat the early morning chill. She was one of three players in the field to be bogey-free in her first round.

The Trump circus is scheduled to leave Turnberry on Friday, allowing the players to take center stage at the fourth major of the year.

courtesy of STEVE DOUGLAS (golfdigest.com)

Lorena Ochoa Is Loving Retirement and Making a New Kind of Impact

Photo: Getty Images

Lorena Ochoa (right) presents Christina Kim with the champions trophy at the 2014 Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

In April 1995, at something called the Senior Sprint Challenge, LPGA legend Mickey Wright, then 60, teed off for what would be the final competitive round of her career. Dozens of LPGA pros turned out to sneak a peek at her famous swing, and that day has now passed into mythology.

The modern-day version of this tale happens in Mexico every year at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, when the eponymous host pegs it in the Wednesday pro-am. Ochoa, 33, walked away from the LPGA five years ago at the height of her powers to start a family and concentrate on her charitable foundation. But for one day every year she turns back the clock, to the delight of everyone who catches a glimpse.

“You can see her game is not quite tournament-sharp but that swing is still a thing of beauty,” says Christina Kim, who won the Invitational in 2014. “So athletic and free. So pure. It’s always great to see Lorena out on the golf course but it does make me miss having her on tour. I’m pretty sure the whole world misses having her on tour.”

Ochoa grew tired of the constant grind of traveling the world and having the weight of a nation on her shoulders, and she has said many times that she remains at peace with her decision. For her, golf was always a deep passion but it hardly defined her. Ochoa came from a traditional Mexican family and lived with her parents deep into her 20s; at tournaments her father, Javier, would often hold her hand as they walked to the first tee and send his daughter off with a kiss on the cheek and the sign of the cross on her forehead. Ochoa’s iconic status in her homeland helped the LPGA colonize Mexico, adding three tournaments to the schedule. (Two of them vanished more or less the second she announced her retirement.) Ochoa’s mission was always to pay it forward.

“I know I am now in a position of influence,” she told me in 2007. “It is a responsibility I take very seriously. The game has given me so much. I have a lot of giving back to do.”

Today, Ochoa devotes most of her energies to supporting the La Barranca Educational Center in her hometown of Guadalajara, a specialized school that is home to 350 kids between first and 12th grades. Ochoa makes appearances, speeches and pitches to sponsors to rally support to help cover the annual operating budget of 8 million pesos (about $900,000.) “I’ve worked with other [charities],” Ochoa once said, “but in the end, I could tell education was the only way to really change a kid’s life and to break that cycle of poverty and the problems that go along with being disadvantaged.”

Ochoa’s own kids—with hubby Andre Conesa, the CEO of Aeromexico—remain the center of her new life. Pedro, 3, and Julia, 1, have completed her in a way golf never could. “She’s the most loving, natural mom,” Kim says. “She just lights up around her kids.”

With the British Open soon returning to the Old Course it’s impossible not to think of Ochoa, who won the Women’s British there in 2007, one of her 27 career victories. But after spending three straight years at number one, Ochoa knows the price of competing at the highest level and she is candid that she no longer wants to pay it. LPGA fans will always hold out hope for a comeback, but for those who miss Ochoa’s graceful presence a better plan would be to travel to Mexico City in November to steal a glimpse of a woman who had to give up golf to truly find herself.

Michelle Wie’s U.S. Open Chances Are Fading, But Not Totally Gone

wie-michelle-140628The defending U.S. Women’s Open champion launched a big tee shot off the 15th tee here Saturday and then practically staggered back to her bag.

If Michelle Wie’s defense of her Open title comes up short Sunday, and it looks like it might unless she shoots a low, low number, she will certainly know why. There’s a painful hip, which caused her to narrow her stance and alter her swing a month ago; a sore ankle that she’s wearing a large black brace on; and her putting.

Wie, the biggest name in women’s golf, lost at least three strokes on the greens Saturday, otherwise her presence on the leaderboard at Lancaster Country Club might be considerably more imposing. Instead, she posted her second straight 68 and finished at 208, 2-under par. She’s six strokes off the lead, held by Amy Yang.

Wie’s day may have been summarized by the way she played the 16th hole, a par-4. After a nice drive, she hit a mediocre iron shot, left her birdie putt four feet short and left her par putt three inches short with a tentative stroke.

That is not how you win a U.S. Open and Wie knows it all too well. She had three bogeys on the front nine. She may have squandered her chance today and left too much ground to make up. Then again, plenty can happen in 18 holes.

“I knew I had to post a low number today, which is a little frustrating,” Wie said. “Those bogeys are precious, you can’t make bogeys out here. I’m grateful that I have a chance so I’m going to try to do as much as I can with it.”

She is obviously hurting and limped noticeably throughout the round. Wie didn’t want to make a big deal of her ailments, although she did admit that she doesn’t take painkillers or pain relievers because she’s allergic to many of them.

“It was a long day, I’m glad to be done,” she said. “But it is what it is. I’ve kind of embraced it. I’ve played with the pain for a while. I know what to expect. I’m good to go for tomorrow.”

She said the pain has gotten worse as the week has gone on. Lancaster CC is a hilly layout and there are a couple of serious uphill and downhill stretches. Her hip and ankle are fine on the flat lies, she said, but Lancaster requires a number of uphill approach shots and Wie said that’s where she has an issue trying to finish a swing on her tender left side. “You saw it on 18,” said Wie, who flared her approach shot into a greenside bunker. She made a superb bunker shot for a tap-in par.

“Unfortunately, it does get a little bit worse each day,” she said. “I just kind of fight through it. My ankle, as well, has never been good. I’m very grateful that it hasn’t really hurt my backswing. I feel it on the way through. So I kind of pep myself up and go for it. I’m proud of myself today, I hung in there, for sure.”

It looked as if Wie might fall out of contention completely after she finished bogey-bogey on the front nine. Then she birdied the par-4 10th, par-3 12th and par-5 13th to temporarily move into third place.

She left an uphill birdie putt at the 14th hanging on the lip, just short. The glitch at the 16th dropped her one back, and she really needed to save par from the bunker at 18 just to stay within striking distance.

Wie seemed upbeat but looked fatigued after the round. No, she said, she was not going to do any practice after the round. She was going to rest.

“I’m just happy that I’m in a good spot,” she said. “I just want to see what I can do tomorrow.”

A few moments later, she limped off toward the parking lot.

courtesy of Gary Van Sickle (golf.com)

Sei Young Kim’s caddie disqualified from U.S. Women’s Open for taking cellphone photo

sy kimSei Young Kim is off to a rookie-of-the-year type season with two LPGA victories in 2015. But if the 22-year-old South Korean is going to win the U.S. Women’s Open this week at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club she’ll have to do it without her regular caddie.

Paul Fusco, a veteran looper who has also worked on the PGA Tour, took a cellphone photo of the hole locations and course set-up notes for the week, according to sources familiar with the situation, and when the breach was discovered by USGA officials he was banned from the tournament.

Related: Golf’s costliest rules mistakes

Sources say that Fusco was in the USGA Rules office — where he was not credentialed to be — taking the photos when an official walked in on him. The sources say there will be no penalty for Kim.

courtesy of Ron Sirak (golfdigest.com)

Cheyenne Woods: Stop Comparing Me to Tiger

cheyenne woodsCheyenne Woods is best known as Tiger Woods’ niece, but the 24-year-old LPGA Tour pro hints at her displeasure with that in a piece published today on Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune.

In an essay titled “What’s in a Name?” the 24-year-old seeks to distance herself from her famous uncle, to whom she is routinely compared.

“How often are you asked personal questions about your uncle?” she writes. “Once a month? Once a year? Never? For me, it happens almost every day. But that’s just kind of how it works when you’re a professional golfer and your uncle happens to be Tiger Woods.”

Cheyenne is the second member of the Woods family to contribute to Jeter’s athlete-centered site. Tiger took issue with a satirical magazine story by legendary journalist Dan Jenkins last year.

Cheyenne earned her LPGA Tour card before this season and has banked $25,431 through 11 events. She’s tied for 39th after the first round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at the Pinnacle Country Club and is 267th in the Rolex World Rankings.

That exposure has led to more attention, which, naturally, has led to more questions about her famous uncle. Her Players Tribune piece doesn’t explicitly tell writers to stop asking about Tiger — but consider them warned. It seems more designed to distance herself from him and establish what some might call her own brand.

“I’ve had many interactions with reporters where the only topic of conversation was my uncle,” she writes. “This is hardly surprising because, in the golf world, the main question on everyone’s mind is always, ‘Who is the next Tiger Woods?’ — just ask Rory or Jordan Spieth. With me having the name and being related to him, it’s very easy [sic] figure, Well, maybe she’ll dominate the women’s game like Tiger dominated the men’s game when he was her age.”

As Cheyenne hints, that’s a nearly impossible standard to match. Tiger, at 24, had already won three U.S. Amateur championships and two majors.

“Of course, I realize that regardless of what I accomplish in my career, there are probably going to be plenty of people who always consider me ‘Tiger’s niece,’ she writes. “I’m very proud to be related to my uncle, but it’s not what defines me as a golfer or a person. Yes, my last name is Woods — but you can call me Cheyenne.”

courtesy of Matt Newman (golf.com)

LPGA hopeful Brooke Henderson, 17, granted Symetra membership

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Brooke Henderson finally got LPGA commissioner Mike Whan to accept her petition, only it wasn’t for the LPGA. Henderson, 17, became the third-youngest winner on the Symetra Tour June 21 at the Four Winds Invitational. She petitioned to join the tour immediately and will compete in the next two Symetra stops leading up to the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club.

Henderson had competed twice on the Symetra Tour in 2015, finishing first at Four Winds and tied for second with older sister Brittany at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in March. Money from those two events won’t count toward the official money list. The top 10 players on the Symetra money list at season’s end earn their 2016 LPGA cards.

Henderson shot 72-65-69 at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend, Ind., for a 10-under 206 total. She finished three shots ahead of Selanee Henderson, no relation.

“It’s amazing to win and I’m so thankful that I got the sponsor’s exemption this week so I’d be able to play with my older sister,” said Henderson. Brittany Henderson is currently 26th on the money list.

Soon after Brooke Henderson tied for fifth at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she traveled to her native Smiths Falls, Ontario, to compete in a Canadian Women’s Tour event on her home course.

“There were a ton of people,” said Brooke. “We had bigger crowds the last two days than I’ve had at some LPGA tour events.”

Brooke finished second in the two-day event, three strokes behind the LPGA’s Rebecca Lee-Bentham. From there she traveled to South Bend, Ind., for the Symetra event, her second pro event in one week.

“I’ve been busy,” Brooke said, “but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

In seven starts on the LPGA, Brooke has amassed $317,470 in unofficial earnings. That would place her 20th on the money list. She needs to finish the equivalent of top 40 on the LPGA money list at season’s end to avoid Q-School (unless she wins, of course).

Big purses at the remaining three majors would certainly help, as well as the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (Aug. 20-23). Henderson is in the U.S. Women’s Open based on her top-10 finish in 2014. She’s expected to receive an invite into the Ricoh Women’s British Open and would play her way into the Evian Championship should she climb into the top 40 of the Rolex Rankings. She’s currently 49th.

Brooke competed three weeks in a row on the LPGA before winning on Sunday in South Bend. Add in the Canadian Tour event and two more Symetra starts and the Women’s Open will be her eighth start in seven weeks.

Should Henderson win twice more on the Symetra Tour, she would be promoted to play on LPGA out of category 13 (for unofficial money).

Henderon’s agent, Kevin Hopkins of IMG, said her schedule will be somewhat fluid after the Women’s Open, with LPGA Monday qualifiers mixed in with Symetra starts.

Henderson has a goal in mind, and she’s well aware that she has limited time to make it happen. Last year, Hee Young Park finished 40th on the money list with $447,658. There’s still work to be done.

“I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else,” said Henderson of her hectic life. “I’m sort of living the dream.”

courtesy of Beth Ann Nichols (Golfweek.com)